What Makes an Effective Leader? More Than You Think

Jul 28, 2015

What Makes an Effective Leader? More Than You Think

Have you ever had a boss who you thought was a great leader? Do you ever wish you could be more like that person? He or she not only managed day-to-day processes and people well but was also a motivator, a positive force in the workplace, an excellent communicator and listener, and someone who you felt truly cared about your professional success.

Great leaders, just like great salespeople, have certain core competencies that set them apart and allow them to be successful in their role. As we discussed last week, research has indicated that 80 percent of the essential competencies required for success in the workplace can be determined through emotional intelligence quotient, or an individual's ability to understand how his or her emotions and the emotions of others impact action and performance. Individuals who are attentive to and have mastery in the following emotional intelligence competencies are effective leaders.

Intuition and Empathy

Individuals who have a greater awareness of feelings, needs, and concerns are able to look positively and objectively upon their staff and genuinely want their staff to succeed. Having an intuitive sense and a better understanding of perspectives and goals demonstrates an active and noticeable interest in the needs of other people.

Practical Thinking

Effective leaders are able to encourage desirable actions from their direct reports. Individuals with this competency are excellent communicators who send clear messages and directions and are able to use effective tactics and techniques to obtain needed results.


Being aware of one's responsibility and authority as a leader is necessary in understanding how words and actions affect subordinates. Successful leaders are self-confident and believe in their own ability to make a positive impact on other people. However, great leaders are not overly confident to the point of lacking self-control; they remain humble and maintain control over their own emotions.


Some individuals have emotional tendencies that facilitate reaching goals. These people are achievement-driven and have a sense of personal commitment to responsibilities. Individuals with this competency have the initiative to proactively recognize and act on opportunities, which makes them great leaders.

The competencies outlined above are not the only key components to effective leadership, but if you are attentive to and master these competencies, you will be on the right path to becoming an effective leader within your organization.

Measuring emotional intelligence in a pre employment assessment or conducting employment candidate testing are ways of assessing whether a candidate is naturally an effective leader, but if you are already in a leadership role and simply wish to further develop your ability, ZERORISK HR can help.

Our Clear Direction Manager Development Program is a 6-month coaching program that provides objective descriptions of the biases within a manager's thinking, in addition to the clarity within those biases that allow us to exercise judgment (i.e., emotional intelligence). The program can be coached by a certified ZERORISK HR coach, or a train-the-trainer option is available for in-house coaching. We will help you enhance your self-awareness by addressing the source of behavior (thinking) rather than the symptoms (personality). Are you ready to increase your effectiveness as a manager and a leader? Contact us for more information about the Clear Direction Manager Development Program.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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